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Historic Half returns to Fredericksburg
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BY EMILY FREEHLING
For the fifth year in a row, runners from all over the U.S. and nine other countries will lace up this Sunday to hit the starting line of the Marine Corps Historic Half race, which starts and finishes on Carl D. Silver Parkway in Celebrate Virginia and takes runners on a 13.1-mile tour of Fredericksburg.
The race field has grown to nearly 8,000 from the 5,800 runners who ran the inaugural half-marathon back in 2008.
Star power has also increased. Actor and comedian Drew Carey was the official starter and a race competitor last year, and this year organizers have lined up soap star and "Biggest Loser" host Alison Sweeney, who will start and compete in the race.
As they cross the finish line, runners will be treated to a concert by Lt. Col. Mike Corrado of the Marines. Corrado is on active duty as operations officer for the Wounded Warrior regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
He has won national acclaim for his musical talents, and is known for his singles "Stand" and "On My Watch Tonight." Corrado has been featured on national networks and in Rolling Stone magazine, and he has opened for acts including the Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi and John Mayer.
Corrado and Sweeney are just some of the special entertainment that organizers have in store for the fifth anniversary of the race, which has made Fredericksburg the centerpiece of one of the biggest half-marathons in Virginia.
"We've had so many runners come back after the first and second year," said Tami Faram, spokeswoman for the race. "It's one of the largest half-marathons in the commonwealth, and it's becoming one of the largest on the East Coast."
Some signature attractions bringing runners back year after year are . Faram said participants often remark on the huge American flag displayed over Cowan Boulevard on giant ladder trucks, a production made possible by the Fredericksburg Fire Department and the Chancellor volunteer Fire and Rescue.
Along the course, entertainment--including bands, cheerleading squads, residents on their front porches and attractions like Stardust the miniature horse and therapy-dog petting stations--add uniqueness to the race.
The intersection of Carl D. Silver Parkway and Fall Hill Avenue in Fredericksburg will close at 5 a.m. Sunday. This and all other city roads should reopen by 11 a.m., after the race is over.
If you want to track a runner or get to a spot on the course as a spectator, you'll need to use the free shuttle service offered by race organizers.
Starting at 5 a.m. Sunday, shuttles will be available for all participants and spectators to and from the Central Park Walmart via the U.S. 17 commuter lot in Stafford County. The commuter lot is located off Interstate 95 at Exit 133. The shuttles will operate through 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Parking restrictions will be enforced near the start and finish lines. All runners and spectators not taking shuttles should park in Central Park on the east side of Carl D. Silver Parkway.
For spectators who want to watch their runners pass through downtown, continuous shuttles will operate from 6:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., transporting spectators from the Central Park Walmart to the intersection of George and Prince Edward streets, near mile seven of the 13.1-mile course.